Coronavirus COVID-19 – news and analysis

Support for International Students: Pilot Hub Launched

OISH launch
International students have faced incredible hardship throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. At the peak of the pandemic, six international students began regular International student support sessions for isolated students. These zoom sessions sparked an idea for a physical hub where international students could support one another, share stories and build skills. The Tenants’ Union worked as part of a Sydney Alliance organising committee to develop the idea.
Read more

Lockdown safety net: our analysis

Lockdown safety net: our analysis
This week NSW heads into a tougher lockdown. For many renting households, especially renters who are casual workers, this is going to have a significant impact on their income and ability to make rent and cover other essentials. In this blog, we run through in more detail the support package for renting households that was announced last week.
Read more

Requests for access during lockdown?

Hand knocking on door
The Public Health Orders so far have continued to allow landlords and their agents to force a range of entries into residential premises against the wishes of the occupants and their attempts to follow health advice. We want to hear from renters about any requests for access they've received - e.g. routine inspection, viewing appointments, repairs or maintenance, other - you have received since the start of the NSW lockdown period. We will be using information collected to advocate for tougher restrictions on access to rental housing during lockdown.
Read more

NSW Peaks push for measures to support households struggling during current lockdown.

Household wearing masks, virus in background
The Tenants Union of NSW, with the NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS) and Homelessness NSW, have written to Premier Berejiklian and Treasurer Perrottet, asking them to ensure measures are in place to support the most vulnerable during the current lockdown. “It’s really important that the restriction on forcing people to move is seen as part of the health response. It is entirely avoidable. We can and should be preventing people from being evicted or made financially desperate and forced by that to move during lockdown.”

Read more

Call for systemic change amid Northern Rivers housing crisis

Sally
The Northern Rivers region is beset by soaring rental prices, social housing issues, a crisis of housing instability and homelessness. In this article Sally Latter, Coordinator of the Northern Rivers Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service, shows why it's time to end no-grounds evictions and transform the housing system.
Read more

What you need to know about rent bidding

Auctioneer's hammer - graphic representation
Rent bidding happens when there’s a shortage of available rental properties, so prospective tenants make an offer to pay rent above the advertised price in order to secure a property. Now, we don’t blame renters for this. Right now, a rental crisis continues to unfold across much of regional NSW.  With so few properties available to rent, there are dozens if not hundreds of applicants for every property, and renters are becoming desperate to find a home. We are seeing a rise in agents and landlords taking this opportunity to actively solicit rent bidding to maximize income and exploit desperate tenants, which we think is unethical and unlawful.
Read more

WESTS Community Engagement Day

WESTS Tenant Advocates
On Friday 21 May 2021, WESTS held a community engagement event at the Skye Hotel in Parramatta to reconnect with key partners of our organisation. The event was a great success. There were over 60 attendees at the community engagement day who were able to finally reconnect with WESTS after a long-period of physical isolation dating back to the COVID-19 lockdown in March last year.
Read more

How a volatile rental market could impact some of the most vulnerable in our communities 

Advocate assisting a client in office
The past 12 months have had a significant impact on many tenants, particularly those who may be at risk of financial hardship or homelessness. Pamela Hunter, from VERTO’s Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS) outlines some of the serious challenges facing renters, particularly in regional areas where a volatile housing market is wreaking havoc.
Read more

COVID-19 and renting, after 26 March 2021

The NSW government has made significant changes to the legal protections for private tenants who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. As the first set of protections during the Moratorium Period (i.e. 15 April 2020 to 26 March 2021) come to an end, new protections are now available for impacted tenants who had accrued arrears over this Moratorium Period. These new protections are set out in this infosheet and will come into effect for 6 months from 26/3/2021 – 26/9/2021.
Read more

COVID Eviction Moratorium ends; Transition Period begins

Renters Guide to COVID-19
The COVID eviction Moratorium Period which began in April 2020 is coming to an end on 26 March. However a six-month Transition Period will follow, during which there will be limited protections against eviction for tenants with COVID-induced arrears. 
Read more